For the past 10 years, Elisa Acciai has been working in the tourism industry, both as a Concierge at 4-5 star hotels and now as a private Florence guide – her dream job. As a native Florentine, Elisa knows the ins and outs of this Tuscan favorite, splicing in bits of a local's valuable insight in with the knowledge of the city's biggest and best attractions, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Vasari Corridor. Elisa covers a wide range of tour options, with one in particular focusing on the secrets of Oltrarno, the region on the left bank of the Arno River.
When we inquired more about Elisa's Florence, here is what she had to say:
What surprises people most about Florence is... the architecture. Known as the cradle of the Renaissance, it has splendid buildings and beautiful churches, but it is also incredibly mysterious with its hidden medieval streets, allies and tower-houses. Plus, in its museums and on the streets are some of the world's most famous artworks and constructions, such as "Birth of Venus" and "Spring" by Botticelli, Michelangelo's "David", Brunelleschi's Dome, Ghiberti's “Gates of Paradise”, and the Ponte Vecchio.
When heading to Tuscany and Florence, one thing a visitor should eat would be "Pappa al Pomodoro" – a thick bread and tomato soup – with a good glass of Chianti wine.
Since artisans in Florence are very famous all over the world, I know a lot of ateliers that show my clients, step-by-step, how they produce their beautiful things. Out of those I'd pick a very good goldsmith artisan, Bandini, in the Oltrarno side - where I picked my wedding rings, and where I always bring my clients if they want to see how an amazing gold bracelet or chain is made.
One of my favourite museums in Florence is... Bargello – a beautiful "box" of treasures. Inside you'll find statues by Michelangelo and Donatello, glazed Terracotta by Della Robbia, small ivory and gold objects, and bronze statues.... all in a particularly interesting building, and the oldest public place ever built in Florence.
My favorite park in downtown Florence is Bardini Gardens for the beautiful view and the flowers. It is considered a museum, so my park to play with my 2 kids, run, watch the horses and pick flowers is Cascine Park, which is also the biggest in Florence.